Customer value according to Lean

As an organisation, you should improve continuously and keep developing in order to live up to the ever-changing environment regarding customer value. When handling according to agreements your company made about fulfilling the wishes of the customer, your organisation will do right. But what is this customer value? And how does Lean contribute to this?

What is customer value?

This term knows many definitions and there are many methods to determine this value as well. In relation to the Lean philosophy, the meaning behind customer value actually goes deeper than just this value. It means a product or service is delivered that satisfies the customer. He or she might choose to order from your company again.

But it is not the same thing as customer demand. Customer demand focuses on fulfilling the need of customers. However, often the customer him- or herself does not even know the need is there. The process of becoming conscious of these needs is important to companies. Here, you can gain customer value. 

Why is creating customer value so important?

Creating customer value contributes to the growth of organisations. The ability to distinguish yourself as an organisation becomes more and more important with this market of competition. Simultaneously, customers are demanding more of products and services. 

The increasing complexity and customers becoming more critical leads to a transition to a demand-economy. The focus is not on the current stock and how to reach the target group, but on what the target group wants and how to meet those requirements. 

Organisations without commercial intent, think of schools or hospitals, have noticed the switch to the focus on customers. However, because the administrative work increases, some tasks of the core of the organisation have become really pressured. Even when looking at the government, it sometimes lacks focus on the ‘customer’, also known as citizens. 

Every single one of these Dit vraagt om een significant andere benadering, waarbij problems have one thing in common: a switch towards customer needs should be made. Lean can contribute significantly to this.

How can customer value be improved?

Organisations know many ways to respond to customer needs. And these entail flexible processes that focus on the customer. The Lean philosophy supports  with a structured approach that improve these processes. 

While using tools and techniques that define the customer value, it becomes possible to examine which business processes supply added value. Those that do not should be minimised or even eliminated. Because in the long run, this will lead to more ‘spare’ time that can be applied to increase the customer value. 

But keep in mind you should not only focus on the external customer. Every process has to do with a customer and these corresponding business processes create an output to colleagues or employees of other departments. When you, as an employee, see your own colleagues as (internal) customers as well, your collaboration will improve and intensify. Not only for you, but for your entire organisation and the external customers. This way, the common goal can be achieved: creating customer value.

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